UN envoy to discuss human rights in Myanmar

Other News Materials 1 August 2008 01:49 (UTC +04:00)

A United Nations rapporteur is scheduled to visit Myanmar next week to discuss human rights concerns, it was announced Thursday, dpa reported.

The UN rapporteur for human rights, Tomas Ojea Quintana, will be in Myanmar, formerly Burma, from Sunday to Thursday for a first visit to the country ruled by the military for more than four decades, and which has not considered human rights issues a top priority.

Quintana has requested to meet a number of government officials, heads of state institutions as well as ethnic groups, political parties, religious groups and non-governmental organizations.

The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, which employs the rapporteur, said he will visit Yangon and areas affected by the devastating Cyclone Nargis in May, the Kayin state in the southeast and Rakhine state on the coast of the Bay of Bengal.

"The special rapporteur wishes to engage in a constructive dialogue with the authorities with a view to improving the human rights situation of the people of Myanmar," the council said in a press release announcing the visit.

Special rapporteurs on human rights work independently and without pay, and they report back to the council in Geneva.

Ibrahim Gambari, the UN secretary general's special adviser, is scheduled also to visit Myanmar in mid-August, a trip postponed from May because of the cyclone. It will be his fourth trip to Myanmar in the past year to try to persuade the military government into instituting democratic reforms, and releasing political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the main opposition National League of Democracy.